A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

History: Huge Firemen's Parade Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Matawan Fire Department (1948)

Firemen's Parade passes reviewing stand on Main Street in front of Sandford Drugs and Harris Hardware. (5 July 1948)

Monmouth County Pictures From The Past is an interesting Facebook group you might consider joining if you like old photographs of places and events in our county's past. I came across this image today in the group and gained their permission to post it here.

The 8 Jul 1948 edition of The Matawan Journal (pg 1) provided the following reporting on the firemen's parade, which was held on Main Street in Matawan on Monday 5 July 1948, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Matawan Fire Department.

Estimate 4000 Marchers Took Part In Firemen's Anniversary Parade

Line Of March Shortened Because Of Intense Heat; Cliffwood, Keyport And Laurence Harbor Companies Are Awarded Prizes

Monday afternoon's parade which highlighted the final day of the week-long 40th anniversary celebration of the Matawan Fire Department had an estimated 4000 persons in the line of march, according to figures released by Police Chief Edwin C Sloat. Cups and awards were presented the prize-winning units.

The marchers represented some 70 organizations including fire companies and auxiliaries from various sections of the state, fire fighting equipment, first aid squads and ambulances and musical units. The parade was rated the largest to be held in the history of the borough.

Police estimated that 20,000 persons viewed the parade and Monday night's display of fireworks on the Matawan High School athletic field which climaxed the celebration. Because of the intense heat which prostrated about 15 of the marchers, the parade was shortened. The marchers were served sandwiches and refreshments donated by various organizations and business houses. There was also open house at all the borough fire company headquarters.

Prize Winners Listed

Winners of parade prizes and awards were Keyport Fire Department, best appearance; Farmingdale Ladies Auxiliary, best appearance; Morristown, best senior band; Laurence Harbor, best junior band; Middletown Township, most men in line; Pine Brook Fire Department, most unusual; Deal Fire Department, best trucks; Cliffwood Volunteer Fire Co and Ladies Auxiliery, marchers without apparatus; Phillipsburg, best appearing first aid squad.

The parade took an estimated two and one-half hours to pass the reviewing stand. The judges were Brig Gen George L Van Deusen (USA retired); Mrs James E Voorhees, Mrs Spafford W Schanck, Mrs Milton F Stevenson, Dr J Wallace McCue, Russell A G Stetler, and the Rev Alfred C Arnold Jr, rector of St Mary's Episcopal Church, Keyport, and Trinity Episcopal Church, Matawan.

After the Matawan borough officials marched by the reviewing stand the group fell out of line and joined the judges in the reviewing stand.

At the fireworks display held at the high school field, cars bearing licenses from all sections of the state were noted parked near the scene. Parking space near the field was at a premium.


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